An interesting remark, indeed; while many are glossing and beaming over Mar Roxas’ “big boy” decision to give way for a Noynoy Aquino run in 2010, the reality has to set in: that despite whatever nobility there is in giving way, the dynamic remains: we face another shot at a second-generation President. The very thing some of us deride – dynastic politics – may very well be here, in the less acerbic form many of us were taught to despise in introductory political science.
We vote on faith, as many political commentators write. While we want to justify our votes on the basis of convoluted – perhaps even contrarian and to a certain extent cacophonous – claims, voting is an act of confession. We confess to our faith in a candidate. There’s competence and there’s cheating, but faith is that one thing that keeps us going to the precinct come election season. I guess that despite everything you can lob at Noynoy now, we’re pinning our hopes on the past.
Not on what happened before, but what could have happened. That, I think, is who Noynoy Aquino would be if he chooses to be the Liberal Party’s standard bearer: a candidate of faith.
At first glance, it looks so showbiz, for Mar Roxas to do his dramatic way of giving way at the first month anniversary of Cory Aquino’s death. At second glance, it looks so odd that perhaps the most enthusiastic candidate for 2010 is now giving way for one of the more reluctant ones. Maybe – just maybe – we’re hanging on a hope that “Cory Magic” can pull it off again, justifying this as a “character choice” or a most massive, game-changing conscience vote for all of us. Never mind if Noynoy, ever the reluctant candidate, is still mum about it.
I’m not going to judge Nonyoy’s character, and I certainly do not know if the man can live up to the monumental legacy of his parents. I think rallying behind Noynoy is the direct result of This Government – and its second-generation President – betraying everything that made the struggle for democracy worth EDSA after EDSA. It’s a return to expectations, hoping that Noynoy will not betray, soil, or sully the memory of his parents by doing something that this President has already done many times over. Expectations that Noynoy will live up to the memory of Mom and Dad. Expectations that Aquino will not repeat the mistakes of this Administration. Memories of EDSA that revitalized our expectations. Memories of past heroes that have rekindled some of our faith.
We pin our hopes on faith, and the past, as well. Not that we’re out of choices – that’s what elections are for – but that we can pin our hopes on someone who can invoke the memory of the past to give way to the future. It’s not as much as Noynoy is “the perfect candidate,” as much as we can pin hopes on him of better times, of past glories, that in spite of being a second-generation President who will most probably be the poster boy of dynastic politics, he’ll represent a faith to a set of values we hold dear. Values his parents stood for, and expectations we request – no, demand – of him, should he win the mandate of the people.
That, I think, is the prospect for 2010: a candidate of faith in Noynoy Aquino. That’s positive for some, and that’s negative for others, yet from here, there’s still plenty of time to decide. Yet that does not discount the snowballing support for Noynoy 2010: a character choice for some, a faith vote for others. To some a perpetuation of the status quo, to others breaking new ground in tradition. Any which way you look at it, Noynoy has a lot of expectations to fulfill. Not the least of which are the expectations of Mar Roxas who, just awhile ago, let go of his dreams (daw) to give way to Noynoy.
There are very few things in Filipino politics that can defeat the advantage provided by the memory of the departed. Like Imelda Marcos, for example, who wants this nation to be great again, with her son at the helm… but that’s another story.
(And oh yeah. How much were those Roxas ads again? Hmmm…)